- More independence from foreign, commercial software.
- Avoiding tying young users to the products and platform of one company.
The article points out that copies of Windows are readily available there, pretty much for free, but that the additional reasons (2) are too important to continue to install Windows on schools' computers. I fully agree. Considering that Linux comes with a number of compilers and interpreters for various languages freely installed, as well as several high-quality and diverse development tools, you can do any kind of Computer Science education without having to pay for tools, and without having to teach the children the ways of just a single vendor. Also, working on Linux gives the students a much greater chance to explore the system and learn more about its inner workings. It's all available and open, including all the sources.
In my experience, Russia has always had good Maths and Science education in their schools. A lot of excellent Computer Scientists, developers and hackers are from there. This move will just further improve their standing and education, I have no doubt about that.
Since I recently had just blogged about my impression that New Zealand universities are too keen to support vendors, I thought that this was a very timely article. I believe that by not at least actively promoting alternatives to a single vendor ecosystem in New Zealand's educational institutes, we are doing a disservice to our children and students and will hurt our long-term competitiveness.
Other related posts:
Munich already saved millions by switching to Linux
Smooth sailing with the Karmic Koala
A Linux distro for Cuba
Comment by David Legg, on 24-Sep-2007 21:03
The idea that Linux is a good tool for teaching computer science seems sounds to me. Certainly, if you use Windows, you either learn nothing, or you learn how to do things badly (except possibly MMIs, which are often good in Windows.)